Almost immediately after receiving their new school-issued iPads this fall, students in Indiana and in California (and probably elsewhere) managed to bypass the security on the devices, “hacking” them for “non-schoolwork” purposes: listening to music, checking Facebook, surfing the web.
The news made headlines last week, no surprise, considering the hundreds of millions of dollars that schools all over the country are spending on tablets—with the promise that ed-tech has made for decades now of better student achievement with more modern, more mobile teaching and learning opportunities. The Los Angeles School District alone, where some of this purported “hacking” occurred, has plans to spend $1 billion for an iPad rollout over the next two years that would eventually put a device in every student’s hands. But in light of the security breaches and other concerns about the project’s implementation, the district is rethinking the initiative. It recently announced that students will not be allowed to take their iPads home—one of the key perks of the sort of “24–7 learning” that mobile devices are supposed to support.
Read more. [Image: AP]
On a recent summer day in Nashville, Kara Teising opened her Facebook page for a lunchtime scroll through her timeline when she discovered a photo posted by her son’s daycare: an image of her 18-month-old son surrounded by other toddlers, their chubby faces glued to a brightly colored, animated screen of an iPad. The accompanying post read, “We are taking a BYTE out of our new Apple iPads! We are hungry for learning!” Teising was shocked, unaware that the school, which serves children from six weeks old to pre-K, even had iPads.
A few days later, Teising arrived to pick up her son a little early and found her child’s caregiver “sitting lazily on the floor, showing him a video on her phone,” as she put it. Teising became incensed. Up to this point, she and her husband had been very happy with school - a pricey, highly academic daycare/preschool chain that calls itself “The Princeton of Preschools.”
Teising said that before the iPad and phone incidents, she hadn’t thought much about when she wanted her son to begin using digital technology at school. “When we initially toured the school before he was born, we saw that they had computers in the three-year-old classroom,” she said. “We didn’t know how we felt about that - but we had to make that decision so much sooner than we thought. It was not what we were expecting.”
Read more. [Image: henriksent/Flickr]
The rise of the tablets and mobile phone devices (which have many of the same features) has had a significant downward pull on personal computers. An Economist account of the impending retirement of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reported that, despite the long preeminence of PCs, “people increasingly prefer to buy mobile devices made by Apple or running Google’s Android operating system. Sales of PCs have been falling at double-digit rates…. Microsoft’s own tablet, the Surface, has been a flop, forcing it to make a $900 million write-off in its latest results.” Microsoft is still hugely profitable, but in its inability to capture the apparent magic of the tablet is a problem the next leadership of the company will have to solve. The announcement this week of the $7 billion cash acquisition of Finland’s Nokia is clearly a major move toward establishing a leading position among mobile providers.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock/Kostenko Maxim]
For all the disruption in the publishing industry wrought by the Internet, e-readers, and tablets, reading a book still feels like, well, reading a book: tabbing through pages, digesting information linearly. But maybe that will change. The company Semi-Linear is hoping so: Its recently unveiled Citia iPad apps reinvents long-form non-fiction for the tablet, turning books into something that resembles less a sequence of chapters and more a digital spread of sharable, customizable, collectible cards.
Read more. [Image: Semi-Linear]
What was it like moving from public television straight into app development, a medium with an entirely different set of technical and design constraints?
BURTON: It’s very liberating, and incredibly frightening [chuckles]. Because we had to raise the money ourselves — and, obviously, working for myself is a real joy, having spent 30 years working for other people. Every ounce of what we have all put into this is going to benefit on some level us and our families. I really look at this project as what I’m gonna leave behind, and — and it’s good. It’s really, really good.
Read more. [Image: Benjamin Jackson]
Awesome: Reading Rainbow now has an iPad app.
At today’s Apple event, CEO Tim Cook showed this slide, which we have borrowed from The Verge’s excellent liveblog. It shows that Apple has shipped more iPads than its competitors have shipped computers. And that was before Apple announced the new and improved iPad.
Cook devoted the beginning of the event to talking about Apple’s vision of a “post-PC” world, one in which your primary computer doesn’t have a mouse or a keyboard. This chart shows the success of that vision.